Japan Votes For Change

民主党 (The Democratic Party of Japan)

Image by abuckingham via Flickr

I have been reading a lot about the recent Japanese elections where ruling party for the last 50 YEARS lost their majority. The people saw where their country was heading and decided they didn’t like it. They decided the leaders they had in place were lacking the foresight to get them out of their current situation. They decided the current recession and record high joblessness were enough to make a change. Good idea. If someone isn’t getting the job done, you replace them.

I wonder if the new ruling party The Democratic Party of Japan will waste a lot of time and political momentum by reaching out to the defeated party in the spirit of “bipartisanship”. I wonder if they will take this opportunity to make a few cosmetic changes, but in the long run waste time by letting the party that got the country into its mess drag down any attempts at forward progress. I just have to wonder if the party that has been handed the reigns of the future will show a utter lack of conviction and political bravery in the face of economic and social disaster.

If they worry too much about their own individual re-elections, then nothing of any import will get done and they will find themselves as the minority party again. If they don’t worry enough about the people who voted for them, who handed them a mandate to get the country fixed, who obviously doesn’t want the policies of the now defeated party to continue, then they will lose again. Instead of just losing a bunch of elections, they will lose the opportunity to be taken seriously again. People will look at them and say “Those guys can’t get the job done so why bother giving them the chance?” They can’t count on another charismatic leader like Obama or Clinton to come along and save them again.

Wait a minute, who was I talking about again?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Series Finales

This week I watched three different series finales. They were all shows that I liked and hated to see go, but all good things must end (and no, Star Trek The Next Generation was any of them).

They were Reaper, Kings and Prison Break. These were three good shows and I wish they could have found larger audiences, but that just wasn’t meant to be.

Reaper was the story of some young guy who finds out that his parents sold his soul to the Devil and as a result he has to be the Devil’s bounty hunter. Each episode revolved around a soul that escaped Hell somehow (I can’t remember if they ever said how most of these things got out) and how Sam and his friends send it back to Hell. It was a pretty quirky show I think would have been a lot more successful on a cable station like Syfy, instead of the network of Gossip Girl and Who Wants To Be A Top Model. I would have loved to have seen Syfy’s Friday Night lineup of Reaper, Warehouse 13 and Eureka, but nope, instead the show lasted two seasons (the second was drastically shorter than the first).

Kings was a retelling of the Biblical story of Kings Saul and David set in an alternate universe. It was a very interesting idea that was a weird mixture of modern day New York as the capital of a monarchy called Gilboa. The lead character was an aging king who was losing his grasp on his kingdom and was played by Ian McShane. At times, the dialog was a bit thick to get through, but it was one of the few TV shows that used faith based religion and a person’s relationship with a higher power as a characteristic instead of a character flaw or plot point. The show wasn’t marketed right. The religious overtones should have been mentioned from the beginning, but they weren’t. The show seemed like it was a Dynasty-type story set in a kingdom of a world that might or might not be ours. Once you really got into the show, there would be long scenes of discussions with or about God that while they seemed appropriate in their context really slowed the rest of the story down.

Prison Break started as the story of a man who had himself thrown in prison so that he could break his brother out of Death Row and ended up with a small ragtag group of escaped convicts working to save the world. This is a series that changed its focus with every season but the creators made it work. What really hurt them was that unappreciated mid season break that a lot of shows take. I’m not sure why they take them, but I hate it. When a show like Battlestar Galactica or Burn Notice take the break, they aren’t really hurt as bad because while those shows have an overall storyarc, they aren’t as dependent on each episode as Prison Break was.

Reaper ended its run with a lot unresolved, but there is some talk about the story being continued in comic book form (a la Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel) which may serve the story much better. There are still some things comic books do better than movies such as portraying people flying, showing demons interacting with regular humans and despite the CGI budget, portrayals of Hell will always look a lot better on paper than on screen. I know that the producers wanted to see if they could shop the series to other networks and that was one of the reasons why the story was left with so many unanswered questions, but it didn’t bother me that they weren’t answered. Somewhere in another reality, Sam and his friends are still fighting escaped souls and hanging out at the day job. I don’t need to see them getting old to the point where it makes no sense to stay at their jobs.

Kings built to an ending that should have been the first chapter of a much larger story, which should have ended with David Shepherd taking over as king. This is something that has been hinted at since the first episode and the original story from the Bible says that David takes over. It would have been interesting to see the story continue, but to be honest with you, if they had to pick an ending point, this was a good one. Somewhere the war between Silas and David has started and we already have a good idea how it ends. Besides, once Ian McShane’s character was taken off of the table, the show would have started its rapid decline. McShane was so much larger than the other actors and characters that it would have been a sad spectacle without him. However, I would have liked to see the direction they would sent Macullay Culkin’s character. He was introduced later in the series than the other main characters, but I really liked him and they were hinting at a much bigger role in the series.

Prison Break was weird because unlike the other two finales I saw, it was complete. I had no more questions when I was done watching the episode. I thought it wrapped up everything nicely and there was nothing else I wanted to know. Then I found out there was Prison Break: The Final Break, which is a two hour movie that fills in the blanks from the last ten minutes of the show I saw. To me, it didn’t need to be made but since it was made, I will watch it just to see what story was so important that it needed to be told. I hope I won’t be disappointed.

There are three shows that obviously weren’t watched by a lot of people, but if you get a chance, check them out.  I think they are all enjoyable and if given a chance by the right people, they will reach that cult status that a lot of shows that I like seem to have.

Shuffling The iPod

Paul Westerberg during a performance in :en:Ma...

Image via Wikipedia

I keep seeing these memes on Facebook about starting the iPod on shuffle mode and writing down the first n number of songs. I see five songs or 25 songs. I’m not doing either. Five is too short and 25 is too uninteresting. So I will stop at 10.

1. Tsunami Bomb – No One’s Looking

2. Paul Westerberg – Mannequin Shop

3. Paul Westerberg – As Far As I Know

4. PWInsiderElite.com’s The Post-Raw Show for 08/03/09

5. Paul Westerberg – It’s A Wonderful Lie

6. Paul Westerberg – We May Be The Ones

7. Paul Westerberg – Tears Rolling Up Our Sleeves

8. Tsunami Bomb – Roundabout [Unreleased]

9.  Paul Westerberg – Bookmark

10.  Paul Westerberg – Strike Up The Band

After looking at this list, I have to say “I didn’t realize I had so much Tsunami Bomb on my iPod.” Serious though, I have five Paul Westerberg solo albums (including 49:00)  and a few other non Westerberg songs on my iPod. I mainly use it to listen to podcasts and to watch videos.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]